Does Sleeping On White Sheets Help Your Skin? I've Heard Weirder Theories, So I Tried It Out

Bed time beauty routines are as unique as the millions of people that perform them every night, yet it seems healthy, glowing skin is not always so easy to come by. Cue sleeping on white sheets!

Between the washing and exfoliating, moisturizing and toning, and continual rotation of the latest face masks or celebrity beauty recommendations, we spend a great deal of time prepping for our beauty sleep. But, is it really paying off? Many of us forget the restorative properties of sleep alone, but what we also fail to realize at times is that there are quite a few sleep habits we can work right into our nighttime routine, helping us truly take advantage of those hours during which we are actually resting. The skin on our face gets put through the ringer — often overexposed, under protected, covered, and re-covered with makeup each day — so it is important that we know the most efficient and beneficial ways to ensure the beauty sleep we are getting is resulting in healthy, glowing skin.

So, what are the most effective sleep habits for better skin, you ask? Well, as I set out to research the best approach for beauty zzz's, I was a little overwhelmed — a feeling I've experienced before while staring at the wall of anti-aging products in Ulta, having no idea why one bottle is different from the next and which one is right for me. However, instead of throwing my hands up and resolving to a standard nail polish purchase, I began weeding through the plethora of advice from dermatologist and beauty columnists and, voila! Sooner than I'd expected, it became clear that there were seven, fairly simple sleep habits that most influencers felt led to healthy skin — from snoozing on plain white, dye-free sheets to ensuring the eye cream you use is infused with caffeine — and I resolved to try each of them for one week. First up, a change in bed sheets.

Prior to my online education, I would never have imagined that the color of my linens could affect my complexion, but as it turns out, white sheets are commonly recommended, especially for those with sensitive skin. Many dermatologists and beauty experts report that sheets colored with artificial dyes can easily irritate the skin on our faces, while dye-free, white fabrics in their more natural state are less harsh. Even though I wasn't necessarily convinced that white sheets were the key to maximizing my beauty rest, I stripped off my standard grey bed set and dressed my mattress with a new, crisp set of white linens.

My nighttime routine is fairly simply, as in I try extremely hard to wash my face every night and apply a light face lotion, which I am successful in doing 98 percent of the time. In order to introduce an element of control, I decided not to change anything else about my bed time prep, but did ensure I lathered every single night per the usual. After that, I was ready to let the white sheets do the talking.

Morning 1

To be honest, I didn't feel all that different on the first morning, but hey, it was only the first night — I'll keep an open mind and give the sheets some time to work their supposed magic. I did feel more refreshed — like I had slept better and was more awake — and we know a good night's rest usually has a positive impact on our skin, so we could be on to something.

However, the bright eyed sensibility could have easily been a side effect of fresh, clean sheets in general, as there is nothing better than crawling into a just made bed with sheets right out of the laundry. So, all in all, after day one, the jury is still out on the true skin benefits.

Morning 2

By sight, my skin didn't look much different, but I have to admit, it just might be starting to feel a little different. Still too early to tell by my standards, but I am intrigued to see if my face continues to be less greasy as the week progresses. 

Morning 3

By the third morning, my face definitely felt less greasy than when I normally wake up after sleeping on my standard grey sheets, with an overall cleaner texture. Clearly, my overall complexion has not made a major shift, but I think the minor differences I am feeling are for the better, and may help my skin tone in the long run. 

Morning 4

Somewhere between the morning and evening of day number three, I was blessed with a slight breakout, as evidenced by the lovely blemish that appears front and center on my forehead. In addition, I had a few areas on the side of my face that were also broken out, which tends to happen at, ahem, certain times during the month, through no fault of the sheets.

On day three, I went to bed as per my norm, but woke up pleasantly surprised. I felt like the breakout that had surfaced on my face the prior day was less irritated than it normally would have been on its second day. When I get acne on the side of my face, it often has a tendency to become larger and inflamed before it goes away, but when I woke up, I found minimal irritation.

The clean white sheets definitely seem to be having a positive effect by simply not furthering my little breakout. Every little bit helps when it comes to acne, am I right? 

Morning 5

Morning number five and the breakout is still contained and starting to retreat. I can't say that the white sheets made my acne better, but I definitely think it is safe to say they didn't irritate it further, possibly helping it to subside faster.

In addition, since the breakout was fairly non-eventful in the sense that none of the blemishes went rogue, the acne didn't have the chance to cause negative complexion side affects, like dark marks, which is certainly a win for fresher looking skin short and long term.

Morning 6

Waking up on the sixth morning, my skin felt fresh. My breakout had all but cleared up and, again, while I may not look all that different, I continued to feel a few positive changes — my skin tone felt pretty even for the morning hours and my face definitely felt cleaner than it usually does when I first get up.

Come to think of it, my skin also felt cleaner than it did a week ago. I was hesitant to believe that the white sheets would have any effect at all, but I just might be changing my doubtful tune.

Morning 7

Hello last morning after the last night of sleeping on white sheets! Perhaps to the naked eye, there isn't a visible difference from the first blurry-eyed awakening to the last, but from cleaner, fresher feeling skin to a contained breakout, I can honestly say I felt a difference in my complexion this week and I give the white sheets at least partial kudos for that.

Conclusions

Overall, there was little noticeable aesthetic or superficial improvement to my skin throughout seven days of sleeping on white sheets, but I did feel my skin tone became more consistent. My skin can be pretty oily in the morning, and while it definitely didn't dry out by any means, it felt cleaner and clearer when I woke up. I also whole heartedly believe that the fabric, in its au naturale state, caused less irritation during my breakout, allowing it to clear up faster. All in all, I saw a couple of positive effects on my skin health that I was happy with and no negative side effects to speak of.

So, do white sheets make the cut as a sleep habit to incorporate into our routine for clearer skin? I vote yes! Going dye-free feels like a preventative habit to have, one that would seemingly produce overall healthier skin in the long run. Essentially, white sheets are the sunscreen of sleep habits — we don't always see noticeable benefits when used, but we may increase our chances for undesirable side effects if we forgo them. And at any rate, dye-free fabrics certainly aren't bad for our skin, so the decision stands on all fronts: White sheets are a good choice for our skin and an easy sleep habit to adopt, helping us get the most out of our beauty rest.

Stay tuned! More sleep habits for healthy skin will be coming your way next week!

Images: Katie Patton

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